Two Nashville residents who are well-known R&B artists performed on the big stage at Fest de Ville Saturday night. Bonnie Bramlett and Jimmy Hall always manage to dip into gospel when delivering their brand of soulful rhythm and blues.
Bonnie, of Delaney and Bonnie fame, has sung with everyone from Eric Clapton to the Allman Brothers Band. Recently she moved to Nashville and signed with Blue Hat Records, a multi-genre label owned by multi-talented Charlie Daniels and David Corlew, co-producer of the 1998 Grammy Award winning “Amazing Grace, Volume II.”
Backstage, following her performance that ended with Superstar, the super hit song co-written with Leon Russell, Bonnie’s hair was dripping with sweat. “I come from four generations of gospel singers,” the Granite City, Illinois native said. “I’ve always felt anointed. I don’t do anything without God.” Look for a new CD from Bonnie on Blue Hat Records next spring.
Following Bonnie, Jimmy Hall kept the energy flowing with his Prisoners of Love band. Saying it was “good to be outside where the kids can come and you don’t have to breathe smoke,” Jimmy brought two of his sons, Ryan and Jonathan, onstage to help out on a song he dedicated to Bonnie. “Bonnie influenced me a lot to sing gospel,” he said before ripping into one of the highlights of the night “A Change Is Gonna Come” (on Jimmy’s Rendezvous With The Blues CD). Ryan sat in on keys and Jonathan, who wants to be a drummer, supported his dad with a steady tambourine beat.
Later, backstage, Jimmy said he saw Bonnie and Delaney perform at the 1970 Atlanta Pop Festival and decided that was what he wanted to do. Four years later his band Wet Willie, one of the great bands of that era, had a top ten hit with “Keep On Smiling.”